It may be a necessary change of pace for Syracuse on Friday. If you think about it, the last five games for the Orange have been pretty hectic.
Syracuse then beat its first ranked team of the year in NC State, before going on the road for a win at Wake Forest. The Orange dropped the Deacon Demons by 17, but road conference matchups aren’t usually as easy as Syracuse made that one look.
Anyway, the Orange now returns home for Louisville, and I won’t sugarcoat it. At 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the ACC, the Cardinals could be the worst team in the conference.
Louisville is dead-last in the ACC in points scored and points allowed per game, which isn’t the best recipe for success. Also worth noting, with essentially nothing left to play for, it seems like the Cardinals come in playing some of their worst football of the season.
U of L has dropped six in a row, including its last four in particularly brutal fashion. Through those four, they’ve conceded over 59 points per game, highlighted by last week’s 77-16 thumping at Clemson.
On the other hand, Louisville’s offense has failed to put up 40 points in a game this entire year. That’s really bad, and perhaps making things a bit more surprising, this is the same team that led the ACC in scoring just a season ago. It may be a transitional year for the Cardinals, but that still has to be frustrating.
This weekend’s opponent may not pose the toughest test, but it’s important that Syracuse doesn’t get cocky in this one. It’s clear that SU is the better team, and playing in front of its home crowd should only make things easier. However, there’s something to be said for Louisville’s head coach.
In his two stints with the Cardinals (2003-2006 and 2014-present), Bobby Petrino is 7-0 against Syracuse. Perhaps he’s done it with more talented teams, but there’s no denying that Petrino knows how to beat the Orange… all the more reason to not get cocky.
All told, the 13th-ranked team in the country should take control of this game from the start. Syracuse dug itself into a 10-0 hole at Wake Forest, which is something it will try to avoid doing on Friday. Being at home against an easier opponent should help with that, but it’s all on the Orange to execute. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m.